The Herald (Harare)

5 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Preach Peace, Police Chief Urges Political Leaders

POLICE Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has urged politicians to preach peace as the country drifts towards the referendum and harmonised elections. The country is expected to hold the referendum in January while elections are scheduled for the end of March next year.

Comm-Gen Chihuri said President Mugabe had been resolute in condemning violence and urged other political leaders to follow suit.

He said this in a speech read on his behalf by Police Deputy Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga during a debriefing of two contingents of police officers that recently returned from United Nations Peacekeeping Missions in East Timor and South Sudan.

"I urge political leaders to continue with the message of peace and ensure that overzealous members do not tarnish the critical processes (of Constitution-making process and elections," said Comm-Gen Chihuri.

He assured the nation that his force would be equal to the task to deal with any arising challenges during the critical period of the referendum and elections.

The police chief said all perpetrators of violence would be brought to book regardless of their political status or affiliation.

"It is imperative that the organisation braces up for the unfolding policing expectations.

"In this regard, the organisation will not brook any act of violence fanned to disturb peace and tranquillity prevailing in the country."

Comm-Gen Chihuri paid tribute to the officers for raising Zimbabwe's flag high during their tour of duty in South Sudan and East Timor.

He said ZRP had become a force to reckon with in maintaining international peace.

ZRP, he said, was the first to be requested by the UN Department of peacekeeping Operations to participate in peacekeeping in East Timor in 2007.

Meanwhile, Comm-Gen Chihuri reiterated that ZRP is fully geared to deal with any criminal cases that might arise as a result of elections slated for March next year.

He said this in another speech read on his behalf by Senior Assistant Commissioner in charge of administration at Police General Headquarters, Moses Chihuri, at a provincial Christmas party for senior members of the force in Marondera over the weekend.

"Zimbabwe as a nation is preparing to hold general elections and possibly a referendum in the period that lies ahead.

"As police, we have declared zero tolerance to politically motivated violence. We will stand up to any activities that might discredit the process," Comm-Gen Chihuri said.

He challenged members of the force to work diligently to win the confidence of the public.

"The need to restore confidence in communities through effective policing and the need to safeguard the gains of our independence can only be satisfied if we remain patriotic, professional and exude total commitment to the nation," he said.

Speaking at the same function, officer commanding Mashonaland East, Snr Asst Comm Ronald Muderedzwa bemoaned high cases of assault recorded in the province saying people need to move away from the culture of violence.

"Cases of assault and unlawful entry are still very prevalent in the province. We have to work to ensure that we change this culture of violence. Currently, over 70 percent of all reported cases in the province are assault cases. We have to understand that we cannot use the muscle to achieve our desired goals," Snr Asst Comm Muderedzwa said.

The provincial police boss remi-nded police officers that domestic violence does not only happen outside the police community, adding that the fight against the crime must also include law enforcement agents.

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